‘Barefoot Contessa’: Ina Garten Calls This 1 Food ‘Highly Under-Appreciated’ — Plus, How She Cooks It

Ina Garten has been whipping up tasty dishes on her Barefoot Contessa show for years. Garten highlights new and versatile ingredients in each episode, such as various cuts of meat or healthy vegetables.

Garten has grown a major appreciation for different foods through the years, but she feels one item is still “highly underappreciated” by most people.

'Barefoot Contessa' star Ina Garten raises a glass while seated at a dining table.
Ina Garten | Mike Smith/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

Food Network star Ina Garten takes cooking inspiration from everywhere

Garten has been cooking for decades, but her life didn’t start that way. She initially worked in the White House in the 1960s, but she ultimately decided the career wasn’t fulfilling. Garten and her husband bought a small specialty foods store in East Hampton on a whim in 1968, and Garten’s Barefoot Contessa brand was born.

Garten loves to get creative with what she makes, and she constantly finds inspiration. In an interview with Food Network, Garten revealed that any food-related instance could serve as inspiration.

“I get [inspiration] really from everywhere,” Garten said. “If I go to dinner somewhere or I see something in a cookbook or I see something in a food store or somebody tells me about something they had.” Garten said inspiration is “in the air” and that she keeps a list of all the dishes she wants to try her hand at.

'Barefoot Contessa' star Ina Garten speaks into a microphone while on stage in New York City in 2019.
Ina Garten | Brad Barket/Getty Images for The New Yorker

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The ‘Barefoot Contessa’ star thinks cauliflower is ‘highly under-appreciated’

When it comes to certain ingredients, Garten feels there is an underappreciation to cooking them. To Garten, cauliflower is the one ingredient she can’t believe people don’t utilize more often.

“I think cauliflower is a highly under-appreciated vegetable,” Garten once wrote in an Instagram post. “It browns beautifully when roasted, it makes soups creamy without adding cream,” she continued.

Garten paired her cauliflower caption with a photo of cauliflower toasts, noting she made it with gruyere and pancetta on top of “crusty bread.”

Cauliflower seems to be in the same category as Brussels sprouts — people either love it or hate it. However, Garten is a firm believer that anything can taste delicious with the right cooking method and complementary ingredients.

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Ina Garten didn’t love cauliflower until she learned how to roast it

Garten admitted in an episode of her show that she was never a fan of cauliflower. That was until she learned the best method for cooking it: roasting the vegetable.

“I have to admit, I didn’t always love cauliflower,” Garten said on her show. “But then I discovered roasting it. It changed my mind completely.”

Garten has a few favorite ways to cook cauliflower, but roasting it with Parmesan and Gruyere cheese is one of the easiest, most flavorful ways to make the most of the vegetable. Garten also has an easy method for cutting cauliflower while avoiding a mess: Cut off the stem and green parts on the bottom, then remove the core and cut the cauliflower through the stem.